Labour put pressure on over energy costs
LABOUR took a stand against rocketing gas and electricity bills in Swindon town centre yesterday.
Anne Snelgrove, the party’s parliamentary candidate for South Swindon, spent more than two hours with shoppers, as she collected signatures for a petition set for Number 10.
There have been 250 signatures collected since last Friday, when Anne and her team began the process in the town centre.
The former MP, as part of a wider nationwide campaign by the party, wants to exert pressure on David Cameron and the Government to take some action over increasing energy prices before it becomes unaffordable for the families of Swindon.
Three of the big six energy firms – Npower, SSE, and British Gas – have announced plans to raise gas and electricity bills by between eight per cent and 10 per cent. Analysts expect the others – Scottish Power, E.On and EDF – to follow suit with similar price increases.
“The price of gas and electricity has gone up so much that ordinary families in Swindon are paying a big proportion of their working wage to bills and keeping their families fed,” said Anne.
“It will be totally unaffordable for them before too long and very many people I have met, face a stark choice of heat or eat.
“It’s very easy to say ‘swap your tariff’, but for a number of people I have spoken to, they can’t swap tariff. Those on meters, for example, can’t stop their tariff.”
In six weeks time, Labour’s members will tot up their signatures and send the petition into the Prime Minister, with the hope action will be taken, though Anne does not believe he will do anything.
She has said he does not fully understand the weight of this issue upon family budgets, and as a result he will ignore calls for change.
The petition is promoting a new policy of Labour’s too, with leader Ed Miliband promising to freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017, if elected.
Anne also drew attention to some of the stories she had heard from families, worried about their future bills.
“One couple had a baby a few weeks ago and they were really very worried. What happens when the weather gets cold? They need to keep their baby warm. This is a really stark choice for people.”